CHENNAI: Girija, a 45-year-old from Thiruveedhi Amman Nagar in Ernavoor, is forced to go behind the bushes at an open ground in the locality to relieve herself as the public toilet became unusable more than a year ago. This is the plight of most women in Adi Dravidar Colony and Thiruveedhi Amman Nagar as most houses lack toilets.
"With funds provided by the government, we built a toilet at home. However, there is no underground drainage facility in the locality and we have to spend Rs 1,500 every time we have to transport the septage. So, we use the toilet at home only at night. My husband works as a painter and we can’t afford to clean septage frequently," said Girija.
The public toilet complex with seven seats each for men and women was closed as the motor was damaged a year ago. "It was not repaired for a long time. The toilet was built more than 10 years ago and the roof started crumbling, making the structure dangerous," said Venkataiah, a resident of Tiruvottiyur.
While the women have submitted petitions to the corporation to build new toilets, no action has been taken so far. The condition is similar in Ramanathapuram after the public toilet was closed nearly six months ago. Officials put up a poster urging residents not to use the facility as it is dilapidated.
"While more than 70 per cent of the houses have toilets, women from the rest of the houses use the empty ground nearby to relieve themselves. Open defecation has increased after the toilet was closed. A new toilet should be built. Anti-social elements use the area for drinking and other activities. There is an anganwadi centre nearby and the anti-social elements are a threat to the children," said S Alamelu, a local resident.
Even before the election, we had petitioned the corporation to rebuild toilets. The issue will again be taken up with the officials and the toilets will be built soon, said S Jayaraman, councillor of ward 4.